I'm doing my preflight, except I can't check oil because the dipstick is too hot to touch, and if I used gloves it wouldn't give a very good reading anyway. I ask my coworker instead, and she says the oil should be fine. I watch the fueller and then check the fuel tank caps. One of them is loose, not because he didn't secure and latch it, but as the aggregate result of its being opened and closed a number of times. Not many people realize that that one is an adjustable cap. It's a rubber plug designed to fit a few different sized tanks. When you pull up on the catch, that releases the form inside that makes the rubber seal firm and round against the inside of the filler neck. Spin the catch one way and the closed size of the plug increases. Spin it the other way and it decreases. Turning the catch a little bit is a normal part of operating the catch, so by coincidence it has been loosened over the last fortnight of fuelling. I spin the catch to embiggify the plug, reseat it in the filler neck and snap the cap closed. The mechanism expands. It fits securely now.
The fueller points out that some fuel is leaking from the tank onto the ramp. I check it: it's just thermal expansion forcing some of the fuel out through the vent again. There's also a little puddle of fuel in the well around the closed cap. I don't complain about having my tanks completely full. It's the only way to really know that I have the fuel I expect on board. Gauges don't tell the difference between full and sorta full. If the fuel level in a wide, flat tank measuring one metre by two metres is one centimetre below capacity that's 20 litres short--about 15 minutes of holding fuel for that engine. Yikes! I secure the metal cover over the fuel cap and repeat my inspection for all the fuel tanks. I also check that the total fuel load matches my expectations based on my colleague's flight time. It does, almost to the litre. If too much fuel went in it could be an aircraft problem. If not enough went in, the fueller might have skipped a tank. I've had that happen. I had it happen almost every day at one FBO, but we're at a good one, now.
The fueller says he doesn't know if anyone was hurt yesterday or what kind of airplane it was. He heard that it had just taken off, and turned and the wind caught it. I don't know if he is also a pilot, but it wasn't windy yesterday, and one you're airborne the wind doesn't knock you over. An abrupt change in wind could cause an airplane to lose lift, but windshear seems unlikely, too. The fueller also mentioned that he heard it was a November-registered aircraft, which is relevant mainly because their National Transportation Safety Board investigates accidents involving US aircraft, even elsewhere in the world. Perhaps it will turn up on their site, even if only as a notation that the Canadian TSB is investigating. As I write this I find a news article (with a picture) about the crash. It is being reported as a power loss, and both occupants suffered only minor injuries. It's significant that just 100 metres from the runway the bush around here is so thick that it took a helicopter to find and direct the police and ambulance workers to the site. It's a relief to hear that they are okay. Too bad about the Pacer.
I start up. (Come on cranky engine, I know you're hot, you can do it). I crack the throttle open a bit and then when the engine catches leave the mixture in the idle cutoff position for a moment, and very very slowly enrich it, and not all the way to full rich either, so I don't flood it. The engine RPM comes up, oil pressure, oil temperature and cylinder head pressure all in the green already, so I start the second engine. Avionics on, computer power on, ground fan on. In less than a week we've gone from needing heating to needing cooling.
Ready for taxi, we take runway 21. It's hotter today and climb performance is noticeably affected by the heat. I'm climbing at blue line (Vy and Vyse are the same on this model) and making less than 500 fpm through 3000'. We are full of fuel and equipment. That's the drawback to taking every drop you can.
As I'm leaving the area, the FSS comes on with a SIGMET for a large area of thunderstorms, relative to Germansen Landing. I have heard of it, but don't know where it is on a map of this province, so I call Edmonton Radio and ask for the lat-long coordinates of the area boundary. It's mostly north of where we are working, and currently the closest part of the line is a degree and a half of longitude west of us. That's about 50 miles this far north. Degrees of longitude get smaller and smaller with increasing latitude, but a degree of latitude is always 60 nm. I don't think those thunderstorms will bother us, but there's a lot of vertical build up here. By the time we reach the work area, fifty miles north of the airport, the weather is unsuitable for the work. That was a quick flight.
Back, land, and take my stuff to the hotel, including the cushion from the airplane. It smells like feet.